U.S. Department of Labor
Employment Standards Administration
Wage and Hour Division
WH Publication 1482
Tis publication provides general information only and is not to be considered in the
same light as ofcial statements of position contained in Interpretative Bulletins and
in opinion letters of the Wage and Hour Administrator. Te Federal Register and
the Code of Federal Regulations remain the ofcial source for regulatory informa-
tion published by the United States Department of Labor. We will make an efort to
correct errors brought to our attention.
For additional information call our Wage-Hour toll-free information and help line,
available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243).
TDD* Phone (202) 693-7755
* Telecommunication Device for the Deaf
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Major Statutes Administered By Te Wage And Hour Division
Easy To Understand Information Explaining Legal Requirements
Other Major Laws Administered By Te U.S. Department of Labor
Other U.S. Department of Labor Resources Available To New And Small Businesses
Other Government Resources To Aid New And Small Businesses
State And Local Laws
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act Of 1996 (SBREFA)
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New and small businesses play an important role in our nation’s economy. Te Wage and Hour
Division (the Division) of the United States Department of Labor (DOL or Department) is providing
this resource to assist new and small businesses to properly and efectively stay in compliance with
the laws and regulations administered by the Division.
Owning a small business or creating a new business brings many responsibilities, including compli-
ance with federal wage and hour laws. Employers ofen have questions about some of those responsi-
bilities. When employees are treated in a way that is consistent with our nation’s employment stan-
dards laws, everyone benefts.
Tis package provides general information about the laws administered by the Division, the Depart-
ment, and other federal agencies. Tis information is available both through our ofces and on the
Te Department’s e-laws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) program
at can provide an answer to many of your questions any time of the day or night.
Tis interactive program was designed to give advice to business owners and other interested parties
in a question and answer format, similar to that used by a human expert.
Te Wage and Hour Division was created by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Te Division
is responsible for the administration and enforcement of a wide range of labor standards laws that
collectively cover virtually all private, state and local government employment. Te Division is
comprised of a nationwide staf of investigators, supervisors, technical, and clerical employees.
Te Division’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and
enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. Te Division enforces labor standards under the
following laws:
• Fair Labor Standards Act;
• Employee Polygraph Protection Act;
• Family and Medical Leave Act;
• Davis-Bacon and Related Acts;
• McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act;
• Garnishment Provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act;
• Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act;
• Field Sanitation and Temporary Labor Camp Provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act;
• Temporary Worker Provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
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Te FLSA requires that most employees in the United States be paid at least the federal minimum
wage and time and one-half their regular rate for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Te FLSA
also includes youth employment and recordkeeping provisions. Te FLSA covers all workers who are
engaged in or producing goods for interstate commerce or are employed in certain enterprises.
Te FLSA sets 14 years of age as the minimum age for employment, and restricts hours of work and
allowable occupations for 14 and 15 year olds. It also bans employment in specifed hazardous occu-
pations for those under 18 years of age. Special rules apply to minors employed in agriculture.
Te EPPA limits private employers in the use of lie detector tests either for pre-employment screening
of job applicants or for testing current employees during the course of employment. Polygraph tests
are permitted under limited circumstances and subject to certain restrictions.
Te FMLA requires employers of 50 or more employees (and all public agencies) to provide eligible
employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for the birth and care of a new-
born child, for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care, or for the serious
illness of the employee or of the employee’s child, spouse, or parent.
Te CCPA’s wage garnishment provisions limit the amount of an individual’s disposable income that
may be legally garnished and prohibit an employer from fring an employee whose pay is garnished
for payment of any single debt.
Te DBRA require payment of prevailing wages and fringe benefts to laborers and mechanics
employed by contractors and subcontractors engaged in federally fnanced and assisted construction
Te SCA requires payment of prevailing wages and fringe benefts to service employees of contractors
and subcontractors furnishing services to agencies of the U.S. Government.
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Under the INA:
• Section H-2A provides for enforcement of contractual obligations of job ofers to which
employers of temporary nonimmigrant agricultural workers have certifed;
• Section D-1 provides for enforcement of employment conditions attested to by employers
seeking to employ alien crewmembers to perform specifed longshore activities at U.S. ports;
• Section H-1B provides for enforcement of labor condition applications fled by employers
wishing to employ, temporarily, nonimmigrants in specifed professional occupations; and
• Section H-1C provides for enforcement of attestations fled by employers wishing to employ
temporarily, nonimmigrants as registered nurses.
Te MSPA protects migrant and seasonal agricultural workers in their dealings with farm labor
contractors, agricultural employers, agricultural associations, and providers of migrant housing. All
persons and organizations subject to the MSPA must observe certain rules when recruiting, soliciting,
hiring, employing, transporting, or housing these workers, or when furnishing them to other employers.
Te OSHAct was enacted to assure safe and healthful working conditions for workers. Agricultural
employers are required to allow reasonable use of employer provided toilets, potable drinking water
and hand-washing facilities to hand-laborers in the feld, and inform each employee of the impor-
tance of good hygiene.
Employers providing temporary housing to agricultural workers must meet certain standards for
health and safety. Tese standards apply for housing built or under construction afer April 3, 1980,
or contracted to be built afer March 4, 1980.
Te Division has plain language publications that businesses like yours have found useful in deter-
mining how to comply with federal worker protection laws. Te following list of publications may
be obtained from the nearest Wage and Hour District Ofce or by calling 1-866-4US-WAGE
Publications from the Division are available free of charge through the Wage and Hour Online
Publications Ordering Form. Additional information is also available through the Division’s website
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Te Department of Labor (DOL) administers and enforces more than 180 federal laws. Tese man-
dates and the regulations that implement them cover many workplace activities for about 10 million
employers and 135 million workers.
Te following is a brief description of many of DOL’s principal statutes most commonly applicable to
new and small businesses. For authoritative information on these laws, you should consult the agen-
cies that administer the applicable statutes and regulations.
Te Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulates employers who ofer pension or
welfare beneft plans for their employees. Title I of ERISA is administered by the Employee Benefts
Security Administration (EBSA) (formerly the Pension and Welfare Benefts Administration) and
imposes a wide range of fduciary, disclosure, and reporting requirements on fduciaries of pension
and welfare beneft plans and on others having dealings with these plans. Tese provisions preempt
many similar state laws. Under Title IV, certain employers and plan administrators must fund an
insurance system to protect certain kinds of retirement benefts, with premiums paid to the federal
government’s Pension Benefts Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). EBSA also administers reporting re-
quirements for continuation of health-care provisions, required under the Comprehensive Omnibus
Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) and the health care portability requirements on group
plans under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Te Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHAct) is administered by the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA). Safety and health conditions in most private industries are regulated
by OSHA or OSHA-approved state programs, which also cover public sector employers. Employers
covered by the OSHAct must comply with the regulations and the safety and health standards
promulgated by OSHA. Employers also have a general duty under the OSHAct to provide their
employees with work and a workplace free from recognized, serious hazards. OSHA enforces the
Act through workplace inspections and investigations. Compliance assistance and other cooperative
programs are also available.
Te Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provides for cer-
tain persons who serve in the armed forces to have a right to reemployment with the employer they
were with when they entered service. Tis includes those called up from the reserves or National
Guard. Tese rights are administered by the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS).

Te Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959(LMRDA)(also known as the
Landrum-Grifn Act) deals with the relationship between a union and its members. It protects
union funds and promotes union democracy by requiring labor organizations to fle annual fnancial
reports, by requiring union ofcials, employers, and labor consultants to fle reports regarding certain
labor relations practices, and by establishing standards for the election of union ofcers. Te Act is
administered by the Ofce of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS).
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Non-discrimination and afrmative action requirements apply to certain federal contractors under
Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’
Readjustment Assistance Act. Tese programs prohibit discrimination and require afrmative
action with regard to race, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, and veterans’ status. Te Ofce of
Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) administers these programs.

Te Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 covers all people who work on mine property. Te
Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) administers this Act. MSHA enforces safety and
health requirements at more than 13,000 mines, investigates mine accidents, and ofers mine opera-
tors training, technical, and compliance assistance.
Te Black Lung Benefts Act (BLBA) provides for monthly payments and medical benefts to coal
miners totally disabled from pneumoconiosis (black lung disease) arising from their employment in
the nation’s coal mines. Te statute also provides monthly benefts to a deceased miner’s survivors
if the miner’s death was due to black lung disease. Te Ofce of Workers’ Compensation Programs
(OWCP) administers the Act.

Te Employment and Training Administration (ETA) administers federal government job training
and worker dislocation programs, federal grants to states for public employment service programs,
and unemployment insurance benefts. Tese services are primarily provided through state and local
workforce development systems.
Te Business Relations Group in ETA helps businesses to understand the workforce system, identify
their key workforce challenges, and connect to federal, state, and local resources.
Te Ofce of Compliance Assistance Policy (OCA), working with many DOL agencies, leads a
variety of Department-wide compliance assistance eforts. All DOL compliance assistance activities
are designed to provide businesses, workers, and others with the knowledge and tools they need to
comply with DOL’s rules.
Te Ofce of Small Business Programs (OSBP) administers DOL’s responsibility to ensure procure-
ment opportunities for small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small busi-
nesses, HUBZone businesses, and businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. OSBP serves as the
Department’s Ombudsman for small businesses under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement
Fairness Act (SBREFA). Te resource center provides information regarding rules and regulations
that the Department administers.
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Te Poster Advisor is designed to help employers comply with the poster requirements of several
laws administered by DOL. Tese laws require employers to display ofcial DOL posters where em-
ployees can readily observe them. DOL provides the posters, in English as well as other languages, at
no cost to employers.
Te FirstStep Employment Law Advisor is a free online tool that helps employers simply and quick-
ly determine which of DOL’s major employment laws apply to their business or organization. Just as
its name implies, it is a valuable “frst step” resource for any business owner because it provides clear,
easy-to-access information on how to achieve compliance with DOL’s laws. To determine the laws
applicable to a specifc business, this Advisor poses questions, reviews the responses, and generates a
customized list of DOL employment laws that likely apply to the user’s business based on its number
of employees and other factors.
Te Employment Law Guide describes 23 major laws enforced by DOL. Written in plain language,
it is geared toward employers who need introductory information to develop wage, beneft, safety and
health, and nondiscrimination policies for their businesses. Te Guide’s overview allows employers
to quickly identify which requirements may apply to them. Each chapter also provides the names
and telephone number of the DOL agency that administers the laws and regulations addressed in that
Te U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.
Te SBA was created to aid, counsel, assist, and protect the interests of small business concerns, to
preserve free competitive enterprise, and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our
• SBAToll-FreePhoneNumber:1-800-U-ASK-SBA(1-800-827-5722)
Te Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides America’s taxpayers top quality service by helping
them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and
fairness to all.
• IRSToll-FreePhoneNumberforBusinesses:1-800-829-4933
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Te National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administers the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA),
the primary law that governs relations between unions, employees, and employers in the private sec-
tor. Te Act guarantees employees the right to organize and to bargain collectively with their employ-
ers or to refrain from such activities. Te Act, which generally applies to all employers involved in
interstate commerce, implements the national labor policy of assuring free choice and encouraging
collective bargaining as a means of maintaining industrial peace. Te NLRA also extends rights to
employers, protecting commercial interests against unfair actions committed by labor organizations,
and extends rights to labor organizations, protecting organizational and collective-bargaining repre-
sentative interests against unfair actions committed by employers.
• NLRBTollFreePhoneNumber:1-866-667-NLRB(1-866-667-6572)
Te Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a base of economic security in today’s society
through a valuable package of retirement, disability, and survivors insurance. Te Social Security
system is designed so that there is a link between how much workers and their employers pay into
the system over their working years and how much they will get in benefts.
• SSAToll-FreePhoneNumber:1-800-772-1213
Te Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that cover all private employers, state
and local governments, and education institutions that employ 15 or more individuals. Tese laws
also cover private and public employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint labor management
committees controlling apprenticeship and training. Te Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(ADEA) covers all private employers with 20 or more employees, state and local governments
(including school districts), employment agencies, and labor organizations. Te Equal Pay Act
(EPA) covers all employers who are covered by the FLSA. Virtually all employers are subject to the
provisions of this Act.
• EEOCToll-FreePhoneNumber:1-800-669-4000
Business.Gov, the ofcial business link to the U.S. Government, provides a single access point to
government services and information by helping small businesses save time and money spent on
regulatory compliance by providing quick and easy access to business laws, government regulations,
forms, and agency contacts.
Te Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) is focused on answering citizens’ questions about
the Federal government and everyday consumer issues. FCIC watches emerging consumer issues
and topics and regularly reviews new information coming from federal agencies and consumer
• FCICToll-FreePhoneNumber:1(800)FED-INFO(1-800-333-4636)
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States and other jurisdictions ofen have their own employment standards laws. If both federal and
state or local law apply to your business, you must comply with both. States use various names for
the agencies regulating employment practices; however, common names for such state agencies are:
Department of Consumer and Industry Services, Employment Services, Human Resources, Industrial
Relations, Labor, or Workforce Development. For more information about your state’s labor laws,
look under the listing for State Government Agencies of your local telephone book or visit the
Internet at
In accordance with the provisions of the SBREFA, the Small Business Administration established a
National Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Ombudsman and 10 Regional Fairness Boards
to receive comments from small entities about federal agency enforcement actions. Te Ombuds-
man annually evaluates enforcement activities and rates each agency’s responsiveness to small enti-
ties. Small entities wishing to comment on Wage and Hour Division enforcement activities may
call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247), or write the Ofce of the National Ombudsman, U.S. Small
Business Administration, 409 3rd Street, SW, MC2120, Washington, DC 20416-0005, or visit the
Ombudsman’s internet website, Te right to fle a comment with the
Ombudsman is in addition to any other rights a small entity may have, including the right to contest
the assessment of a civil money penalty. Filing a comment with the Ombudsman neither extends the
maximum time period for contesting the assessment of a penalty, nor takes the place of fling the re-
sponse required to secure an administrative hearing on a penalty. Te Wage and Hour Division does
not consider fling of a comment with the Ombudsman as a factor in determining how to resolve
issues raised during a compliance action.
Call the Wage and Hour Division toll-free at
1-866-4US-WaGE (1-866-487-9243) or
visit our website at